Single: So What?

A trip to a coffee house with my girls is always a blast. Not only do we all live for lattes, but the coffee house environment sends me into an ethereal heaven. I live for those nights out with my girlfriends, when I can unravel my week and forget the cares of college and profs for a few days. The very moment I sip a caramel drizzled macchiato and gaze out of the coffee shop’s windows with my friends, I can see the night sky for all that it really is. It is during those times that I realize how very happy I am with myself.

So what if it’s been a while since I’ve been asked out, or even had any prospective dates come my way? The reality is that I don’t need to have a date lined up for the weekend to have a great time. My suggestion: invite some friends, leave room for a little adventure, and keep your eyes open.

Looking for things to do that won’t involve putting golf on a mini-course or twiddling your thumbs? How about working on your triple-axel at the ice skating rink with your friends. Or, there’s indoor rock climbing for you adventurous girls. Challenge yourself to do something completely out of the ordinary at least once per week, even if that means road-tripping to a pumpkin festival with your friends. Yes, pumpkin festivals happen all over North America, whether it is in Calabasas, Calif., Allardt, Tenn., or Waterford, Ontario. Look in the weekend section of the newspaper for traveling festivals in your area. Many exciting possibilities exist if you are willing to look out for them.

Saturday afternoon excursions to vintage shops are a favorite pastime among my friends. Downtown Indianapolis has a great little strip of eclectic boutiques and vintage clothing shops in Broad Ripple Village. Broad Ripple is a great place to browse or get a bite even if you’re low on cash. Feeling artsy? The Short North area of Columbus, Ohio has its streets lined with mini galleries of budding artists. The Gallery Hop is the place to be for some mid-day canvas browsing. It’s all free, and most cities have something comparable to this. New York’s Metropolitan Museum can be visited for a donation of any amount (suggested donation $11.00.) But a waiter at Carmine’s, a robust family-style Italian restaurant, suggested that my girlfriends and I check it out and throw in a dollar donation each. Hey, it works.

Scenery permitting, a backpacking trip in the mountains or camping in a national park could be just what you’re looking for. Bring some friends and pitch a tent or two, but don’t forget the marshmallows. Before you go, consider reading The Big Book of Team Building Games by Edward Scannell. As this book suggests, sharing personal accomplishments, dreams, fears and hopes can help unite co-workers/ team members. If this book can build successful teams among co-workers in a corporate setting, imagine what taking this book up into the mountains could do for the bonds of trust between friends.

If you really want to do something worthwhile, find some friends and visit the city for a day of volunteering. Contact an organization you really care about to see if they could use some extra help. and both have large national databases of organizations that are seeking groups of volunteers. You can easily run a search to match your interests and availability.

Have a warm spot for animals without homes? Hang out with some furry friends for the afternoon and walk the lonely dogs in the park. Another option is for you and your friends to bond while bagging lunches in a food pantry. Don’t make an intense time commitment. Rather, pick a time between holiday breaks that benefits everyone involved.

Brenda MacDonald, who spent a week helping the homeless of Los Angeles, thinks that being able to volunteer is such an important part of life that she loves to share it with others. “When you can see someone’s life changed because of your efforts-well, that just shows that it’s a worthy cause. Volunteering always gives me a fresh perspective on life and to be able to experience that with my friends has given us that shared experience to look back on.” Well said, Ms. MacDonald.

I’m not going to wait for a guy to ask me out to start living my life; and neither should you. Picture yourself in your favorite place surrounded by your favorite people having a blast. You decide whether it is going to be simply dinner and a movie or all-night salsa dancing. If you want to try out that new Mongolian stir-fry dig or hit up an all-night coffee house after live music at the park, invite some friends and take it all in.

When I think about my girls and the great times we’ve had in college, I’ve never regretted investing my time into nurturing those friendships and putting my heart into the hands of people who dig me no matter what the circumstances.

So do yourself a favor. Have a blast and live your life right. Go to the party and live it up. Love and respect yourself for the woman/man that you are. Focus on yourself, your friends and loving your life. You’ll find out how much more there is to discover.

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